A NETWORK is being devised which will be able to direct people to where lifesaving defibrillators are available in the Cowdenbeath-Lochgelly area.

The National Defibrillator Network (NDN) which the BHF is developing over the course of the next 12 months, is in partnership with the NHS and ambulance services right across Scotland and the United Kingdom as a whole.

Just last week we told how a defib will be sited in Bank Street, Lochgelly, through the efforts of Hugh Black butcher James Sloan climbing Ben Nevis.

But there are others all over the area which this new system will identify.

As co-convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Heart Disease and Stroke; Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP, Alexander Stewart on Wednesday announced, a new national defibrillator network programme by the British Heart Foundation.

Throughout the next year, the plan is to identify and map the location of defibrillators (both public and restricted access) across the UK and make this information available so that 999 call operators can direct bystanders in an emergency to the nearest defibrillator.

It means that if a person in Cowdenbeath, Lochgelly and the surrounding villages witness someone collapsing with a cardiac arrest a call to 999 could tell them where the nearest defib is.

This is an exciting and ground-breaking programme which could, ultimately, help save the lives of people across Fife who experience an out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA).

Mr Stewart explained: “There are an estimated 100,000 defibrillators across the UK.

"But despite their widespread availability, the majority of these are not known to the ambulance services and, sadly, only 2% of people suffering an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) receive defibrillation from a bystander.

"As many will be aware, every minute without CPR or defibrillation reduces a person’s chance of surviving a cardiac arrest by around ten per cent and thousands more lives could be saved if the public were equipped with vital CPR skills and had access to a defibrillator, which is a critical link in the chain of survival".

To ensure that the NDN will work across all ambulance services, the British Heart Foundation has been working closely with colleagues in the Scottish Ambulance Service.

Added Mr Stewart: "They have helped to refine the requirements for development that they have already gathered from every ambulance service. BHF has also secured a technology provider in Microsoft to be our key strategic partner for the innovative new NDN. Along with their award-winning solutions partner, New Signature, they will help us to deliver the network.

"The announcement is just the first step towards the network going live and for one, I am very keen that as many people as possible know that the British Heart Foundation is embarking on this hugely worthwhile and potentially life-saving project.”